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Red Robin exec: Mobile is increasingly important to overall marketing strategy

With a third of its online traffic coming from smartphones, casual dining restaurant chain Red Robin realized that it needs to ramp up its mobile strategy.

That is when the company took its first step and launched a mobile Web site at Since then, Red Robin has also added a new iPhone app to its mobile portfolio, increasing its customer touch points via the medium.

“It is about being where our customers are and they are busy and on the move and have smartphones in their pockets,” said Jennifer Rivas, director of national marketing at Red Robin, Greenwood Village, CO.

“We saw that a third of our Web site traffic is coming from smartphones,” she said. “So a mobile Web site and an app were obvious next steps.

“Mobile is increasingly important to our overall marketing strategy and we are excited to be in the space.”

Additional touch point
The Red Robin mobile site was built by Usablenet, a New York-based firm that helps brands build their mobile presence via Web site development services.

The site lets consumers view Red Robin menus and find locations closest to them.

Customers can find the locations and even get directions via the mobile site. The location is found based on a ZIP code search, or consumers can search by city and state.

Site visitors can also join the Red Robin database for future marketing.

Red Robin – Yummm

With Red Robin’s new Customizer iPhone app, users get menu items and nutritional information via their device.

The app is a mobile meal customizer that lets users choose a Red Robin menu item, add or remove ingredients, and add sides, desserts and beverages. Users can calculate the nutritional values and save meal creations to refer to or edit again later.

“We think the app can help our customers make great choices for dining,” Ms. Rivas said. “They can use it to create a meal and easily add and remove ingredients.

“The intuitive nature of the iPhone makes this a fun app to use,” she said.

The app encourages guests to customize menu items to satisfy their taste and dietary preferences.

On average, more than three-quarters of Red Robin guests tailor their order in some way.

Experienced in mobile
In February of 2010, Red Robin invited burger lovers to “Answer the Call” with a campaign that capitalized on the brand’s “Yummm” tagline.

The campaign used mobile, online, television and radio to engage guests and encourage them to try one of Red Robin’s value-priced limited-time offers.

Created by Periscope, a Minneapolis-based advertising firm and Red Robin’s agency of record, the campaign was developed after focus group research found that many consumers could easily recall and recite Red Robin’s  “Red Robin … Yummm” tagline.

Throughout the campaign, promotion of the Yummm mnemonic helped keep Red Robin restaurants a top-of-mind choice for dining out among consumers.

The ringtone was distributed to consumers who play the Yummm Builder game. The game is a play on the 1980’s game, “Burger Time.” The goal of Yummm Builder is to build a gourmet burger before everyday kitchen items such as utensils eat the player.

Yummm Builder winners have the opportunity to immediately download the “Red Robin …Yummm” ringtone.

The mobile Web site and application come after this initial test of using mobile as part of a multichannel effort.

“We are really excited about the app,” said Jennifer Rivas, director of national marketing at Red Robin. “We have always focused on letting customers customize.

“The Customizer has been online for several years now and so it seemed only natural that we extend to mobile.

“It allows people to look up their meals and we wanted to have that tool at their fingertips.”